Title fraud occurs when the title (the Certificate of Ownership that shows who owns the vehicle) doesn’t accurately report important information about the history of a vehicle or boat. Some of the most common types of title fraud are:
Title fraud can hide potential safety issues such as damaged brakes, electronic components, and airbags; and can lower the value of your vehicle.
A title brand is an official record of damage or other information about a vehicle that could affect its value or the ability to operate it safely. For example, a “rebuilt” title brand means the vehicle has suffered enough damage to be declared a total loss by an insurance company and then was rebuilt. A title brand remains on record for the life of the vehicle.
The Title Fraud Detection System helps protect you from title fraud by allowing us to quickly check a national database of vehicle information and:
The vehicle check happens behind the scenes as your title is being processed. You receive the results during your title transaction.
Only title transactions for powered vehicles (trucks, passenger cars, motorcycles) are affected. However, information gathered during fraud detection checks on vehicles you already own will appear on future registration renewals.
If we find that the title has the wrong model year or make, we’ll correct it and give you a written explanation of what was changed and why.
If the computer check shows your vehicle was reported stolen:
If you suspect title fraud or find your vehicle has a title brand that affects it’s value or safety, it’s up to you whether you keep the vehicle or not. If you try to return the vehicle to the seller, but they won’t take it back, you may consider taking legal action. If the seller is a licensed dealer in Washington State, you can file a complaint with us.